Omnico, the cloud-based POS and customer engagement solutions provider, has revealed the results of its latest research into consumer attitudes about returning to UK attractions in 2021. The company’s data shows that nearly 8 in 10 (78%) of UK consumers are concerned about visiting attractions this year, following the impact of coronavirus on the country.
Almost 1 in 4 (23%) of those surveyed are so worried about the prospect of returning to public attractions, like theme parks, zoos and museums, that they will instead choose to stay away.
Worries ahead of visiting UK attractions
Omnico conducted this latest research with 2,048 UK consumers*. Most of the respondents said that they were concerned about how safe attractions would be, with 58% worried about navigating crowds and 54% unsure about attractions’ abilities to enforce social distancing. In addition, 1 in 3 (33%) of people said that they felt attractions might be more focused on making money than on visitor safety.
A third (32%) of those surveyed also said they thought attractions aren’t doing enough to limit visitor numbers, while around a quarter said they felt venues are falling short when it comes to enabling contactless customer experiences (24%) and reducing queues (26%).
These findings are presented in Omnico’s ‘5 Steps to Rebuild Footfall and Drive Loyalty in 2021’ report. As well as showing how consumers feel, this publication also explores what operators can do to builts consumer comfort and trust, encouraging them to return after a challenging 2020.
Mel Taylor, CEO of Omnico Group, says: “After the year we’ve had, it’s understandable that consumers are reluctant to return to attractions in 2021, but the outlook isn’t all doom and gloom. By understanding and addressing visitor concerns now, businesses can put in place appropriate measures to negate worries and begin welcoming visitors back safely.
“Our research highlights three core areas where attractions should focus their attention and make improvements that could ultimately turn the tide for their business – and technology has a fundamental role to play in this.”
Many consumers said safety (58%) and capacity (49%) were key concerns for them in 2021 when thinking about visiting attractions. Therefore, operators need to be aware that their ability to ensure their guests’ physical safety and manage a safe capacity will be deal breakers for potential visitors.
Consumers are more aware of health and safety than ever, with 86% saying they would research an attraction’s COVID safety measures before booking. If they aren’t good enough, 64% said they would book somewhere else instead.
55% of UK respondents said they would expect to see clear social distancing guidelines, 50% wanted capped visitor numbers, and 43% said staggered entry times for visitors would make them feel more comfortable.
Technology can help
Just over half of the consumers surveyed (52%) said that they think technology is the key to keeping them safe when they visit attractions once more.
Many of the technologies that were previous ‘nice-to-haves’ are now considered ‘must-haves’ by visitors. For example, contactless entry points, smart tickets, and turnstiles (57%), pay-at-table (51%) and self-scan checkouts (49%) for contactless service, and attraction mobile apps (48%).
Over 1 in 5 (52%) of consumers said they would only visit attractions that can offer a contactless customer experience.
The importance of loyalty
The impact of COVID-19 on attractions in the UK has been huge – 89% of attraction businesses have reported a considerable drop in visitor numbers** since the pandemic began. Therefore, rewarding the loyalty of those who are still willing to visit is key. 84% of those surveyed said that personalised offers would make them more likely to visit an attraction this year.
The most appealing offers were discounted or ‘off-peak’ ticket prices (39%), free or discounted return visits (34%), and food and drink offers (27%).
This is another area where technology can help. A third of consumers now feel that loyalty apps are a ‘must-have’ and nearly 1 in 5 (19%) said that loyalty perks, like VIP packages and access to private areas would make them feel safer.
“The Covid-19 pandemic marks a significant inflection point for the attractions industry,” says Taylor. “Consumers are entering 2021 with a completely different outlook, and a brand-new set of expectations for businesses like theme parks, resorts, casinos, and public attractions.
“Safety is rightly top of the priority list, and technology has a vital role to play in ensuring that venues are Covid-secure for returning guests. So, it’s reassuring to hear that the vast majority (88%) of attraction businesses* appreciate the importance of technology for restoring consumer confidence this year.
“Not only can technology make attractions safer for visitors – whether that’s through contactless customer service at kiosks or via self-serve apps, smart solutions like e-ticketing, or operating at safe capacity via integrated management platforms – it can make businesses run smoother. At Omnico, we pride ourselves on delivering the tools that will help businesses prepare for this new normal and support their recovery after challenging times.”
Last year, Omnico released a free ebook, showing how technology can help attractions as they begin to reopen and recover from the global coronavirus pandemic.
*This survey was conducted by Censuswide on behalf of Omnico Group, among a sample of 2,048 UK adults (aged 18+). All respondents have visited a theme park, destination resort, casino, or other public attraction (i.e. zoo, aquarium, museum, etc.) within the last two years. Fieldwork was carried out between 21st – 24th December 2020. Censuswide abides by and employs members of the Market Research Society which is based on the ESOMAR principles.
**Additional qualitative research was conducted by Omnico Group, via Survey Monkey, among a sample of 35 customers in the attractions sector. Responses were gathered between 16th December 2020 – 9th January 2021.